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All-English clash could see winner go top of Pool 2

Thursday 6th December 2018

3:11 pm (GMT)

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Exeter Chiefs utility-back Henry Slade

Gloucester Rugby and Exeter Chiefs clash on Saturday with the winner potentially moving to the top of Heineken Champions Cup Pool 2, with Munster Rugby and Castres Olympique facing off on Sunday. The match at Sandy Park gets underway at 13:00 GMT and is live on Channel 4, Virgin Media and BT Sport.

  • Exeter Chiefs and Gloucester Rugby have never met in the tournament, however, the Gallagher Premiership rivals have clashed in the Challenge Cup previously, with Gloucester coming out on top at Kingsholm in the 2015 semi-final.
  • Gloucester have lost each of their four previous matches against Premiership opposition in the tournament. Meanwhile, this will be the first time Exeter have faced an English side in the pool stage of Europe’s top flight.

  • Exeter have not trailed at half time in any of their last five matches in the tournament, however, they’ve gone on to win just one of those games (01, L3).
  • Exeter’s injured England star, Jack Nowell, has beaten more defenders (15) than any other player in the opening two rounds, whilst no forward has beaten more than Gloucester’s Jake Polledri (10).

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Gloucester battle to away success at Exeter

Saturday 8th December 2018

2:59 pm (GMT)

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Willi Heinz diving over for Gloucester Rugby's first try at Sandy Park

Gloucester Rugby put in a terrific second half performance to pick up a vital 27-19 away victory against Exeter Chiefs in Heineken Champions Cup Pool 2.

The home side started on top, forcing a turnover from a Gloucester scrum and quickly gained field position. Santiago Cordero jinked his way past two men before finding Steenson who hit Don Armand.

He was able to lay a dummy pass, beating the final defender and dive over the try line, but Gareth Steenson could not slot over the conversion in tricky kicking conditions.

Exeter continued to dominate territory and possession but the home side lost the ball, giving Ollie Thorley the chance to find a gap in the Exeter line, running fully 70 metres before Alex Cuthbert dragged him down, but captain Willi Heinz was there for the simple offload and try.

No more points were scored until just before the interval, when Gloucester’s Danny Cipriani slotted over the first successful penalty kick in an attritional first half.

Seconds after the restart, Nic White beat three Gloucester defenders and despite pressure, did enough to slide over the try line and dot down. Steenson, who had been very quiet to that point, slotted over the conversion to give Exeter the lead.

As soon as Exeter took the lead though, they conceded a kickable penalty and Cipriani made no mistake. The match seemed to turn on that kick as Gloucester went on to dominate the final 30 minutes.

Patience was eventually rewarded for the away side who worked the hands really well and Jaco Visagie was on the shoulder to battle his way over the try line. A crucial conversion was made from Cipriani, giving Gloucester a two-score lead.

The away side then won several penalties inside the Exeter 22, eventually launching a powerful maul that was brought down two metres out. But that didn’t concern Ben Morgan, who picked and battled his way over the try line, with replacement Billy Twelvetrees nailing what can only described as a delightful conversion from the sideline.

Exeter then went over themselves after a driving maul was executed to perfection, with Tom Lawday the man to fall over the try line, but it proved to only be a consolation as Gloucester held on for victory.

The two sides will do battle again next Friday at Kingsholm Stadium, with the match live on BT Sport.

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